VIDEO from recent events: Free speech cases in African courts; The legacy of the Armenian Genocide; The #ThisFlag movement in Zimbabwe

In November, the Human Rights Program held a number of events with global thought leaders on pressing human rights concerns, spanning freedom of expression, women’s rights under Islamic law, human rights in Latin America, and the movement for human rights in Zimbabwe. Below, we offer brief recaps of the events and links to videos and presentations.

On November 3rd, Nani Jansen Reventlow, fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, spoke about litigating free speech cases in the African regional courts. Reventlow was previously the head of the Media Legal Defence Initiative’s global litigation practice, and led litigation that resulted in the first freedom of expression judgments at the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the East African Court of Justice. She described the pathways and challenges to litigation in the African regional courts, and the promise that these courts hold for issuing progressive rulings for freedom of expression and human rights. Her talk can be seen at the bottom of this post.

On November 10, Malaysian activist and Muslim feminist Zainah Anwar spoke to clinical students via Skype on the topic of women’s rights activism in Muslim contexts and her work currently leading the Musawah global movement for equality in the Muslim family. We also hosted a book talk that day by Alexis Demirdjian, trial lawyer with the International Criminal Court and author of “The Armenian Genocide Legacy.” Demirdjian discussed law and the Armenian Genocide, including judicial explanations and legal remedies, in a talk moderated by Harvard Law School Professor Alex Whiting. Watch the video below.

On November 15th, Saudi blogger and activist Hala Aldosari discussed women’s rights in the laws of Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf states, focusing on women’s legal capacity in the law and the latest developments in the personal status laws of these countries.  She also spoke briefly about her own activism experience, pushing for the Saudi Women-2-Drive campaign and the Campaign to End Male Guardianship in Saudi Arabia. Her talk was co-sponsored by HRP and the Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change.

James Cavallaro, President, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, speaks in front of a classroom.
James Cavallaro, President, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

On November 16th, HRP welcomed back our former colleague, James Cavallaro, now President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, where he is the Founding Director of the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic and the Stanford Human Rights Center. Cavallaro, the former Executive Director of HRP, discussed the future of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, examining the recent funding crisis which threatened the institutional stability and reach of the Commission. He also considered potential consequences of shifting U.S. policy under the new administration for human rights in Latin America.

Lastly, on November 21st, HRP and the Harvard African Law Association hosted Evan Mawarire of the #ThisFlag movement. He discussed the historic protests that swept across Zimbabwe, calling for an end to government repression and desperately needed economic reform. Mawarire reflected on the personal challenges he faced once he found himself leading this movement, including being detained and charged with “attempting to overthrow the government,” and his later escape to the U.S. You can listen to his revealing talk below.

Thanks to all of our speakers in recent weeks- and the entire semester- for providing critical insight into pressing issues in the human rights community.

Follow along with slides from Reventlow’s talk.